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Celiac Disease Screening

In the case of celiac disease, screening involves testing for antibodies in the blood of people who do not exhibit symptoms of the disorder. Because celiac disease is hereditary, first-degree relatives (parents, siblings, or children) of people who have been diagnosed with the disease may want to be tested.

An Overview of Celiac Disease Screening

Celiac disease screening refers to testing people for the disease when they have no symptoms. Screening can help the doctor find the disease early, which can help prevent some of the complications of celiac disease from occurring.
Screening for celiac disease involves testing for the presence of antibodies in the blood of people who do not have symptoms. Americans are not routinely screened for celiac disease. However, there are other countries where celiac screening in children is routine. For example, in Italy, children are screened for celiac disease by the time they are six.

What Is Involved With Celiac Disease Screening?

Screening for celiac disease involves testing the blood for certain antibodies that are present in a person with celiac disease. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives to be threatening.
One or more of the following specific antibodies may be tested as part of celiac disease screening:
  • IgA anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTGA)
  • IgA anti-endomysium antibodies (AEA)
  • IgA and IgG anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA). 


Celiac Disease Screening Recommendations

Celiac disease research scientists and doctors are still trying to determine the best recommendations for screening. They do know that celiac disease screening in children less than 5 years old may not be reliable. However, since celiac disease is hereditary, family members (particularly first-degree relatives -- meaning parents, siblings, or children of people who have been diagnosed) may wish to undergo celiac disease screening. About 5 to 15 percent of an affected person's first-degree relatives will have the disease.
Other people who may want to consider celiac disease screening include people with type 1 diabetes, Down Syndrome, Turner syndrome, or Williams syndrome. About 3 to 8 percent of people with type 1 diabetes will have biopsy-confirmed celiac disease, and 5 to 10 percent of people with Down syndrome will be diagnosed with celiac disease.

Information on Celiac Disease

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